Newly discovered cat virus may unlock secrets of liver disease, cancer - Dr. Marty Becker


Newly discovered cat virus may unlock secrets of liver disease, cancer

Thursday, Jun 7th, 2018 | By Dr. Marty Becker

cat in lap

A newly identified cat virus may help protect cats from liver disease and cancer — and may help people, too.

The study, funded by Morris Animal Foundation, was conducted at the University of Sydney and its results were published in the most recent issue of the journal Viruses. The researchers identified a type of virus known as a hepadnavirus, which typically causes liver disease, in blood from a cat who died of lymphoma (a type of cancer).

Surprisingly, the researchers were then able to find that same virus in stored blood from other cats. Ten percent of cats with FIV had the virus, but it was found in just 3.2 percent of FIV-negative cats.

There is no risk to humans from this feline virus.

From the study report:

“The importance of this finding cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Kelly Diehl, Senior Scientific and Communications Adviser at Morris Animal Foundation. “Finding a new virus responsible for disease is the first step in developing a vaccine to prevent infection. It’s especially exciting if the vaccine could prevent a future cancer from developing in immunocompromised or other vulnerable cats.”

For those of you who enjoy reading scientific studies, the entire text is available, free, at the link below.

Mahdis Aghazadeh, Mang Shi, Vanessa Barrs, Alicia McLuckie, Scott Lindsay, Barbara Jameson, Bronte Hampson, Edward Holmes, Julia Beatty. A Novel Hepadnavirus Identified in an Immunocompromised Domestic Cat in Australia. Viruses, 2018; 10 (5): 269 DOI: 10.3390/v10050269